Broadcast and Video Expo – day 1

As promised here is a brief summary of day one of BVE – which is also the first time the show has featured a radio day.

As it was radio day, most of today’s summary focuses on audio.

For sound recording there weren’t too many new devices for journalists on display, but I was able to audition some microphones which could be of interest for voiceover and studio-style interviews.

The Rode Podcaster and in particular Procaster are not new, but look to be very good options for podcasters or for firms looking to set up a room to record their own content or make remote contributions. But users may well need training, Rode’s importer suggests, to use these mics to best effect. For studio use Sennheiser’s MK4 looks to be a good mid-range condenser. Back with Rode, the Video Mic Pro sounds very good – but there were none at the show to buy. But for DSLR users, this small ‘shotgun’ mic could be the audio option we’ve been waiting for.

Rycote had some good mic accessories (and via Canford, some good show discounts), and we will be putting their Universal Camera Kit to the test later this week.

For mixing Yamaha demonstrated their impressive digital mixers (such as the LS9), through the price may be prohibitive for freelancers I prices are comparable with those for Sonifex or other broadcast desks, although the Yamaha allows for a high degree of automation.

For remote contributions, and for businesses looking for a way for their spokespeople to go ‘on air’ without going to a studio, the search continues for a simpler and cheaper alternative to ISDN. Tieline have some good options, such as the Bridge-IT, and Comrex remains a strong player, but the interest is really at the lower end.

Through ens: mediawe are looking at some packaged options for this, using IP, so check back there for an update. Meanwhile, though, it was interesting to hear from Glensound about an update to their popular GS-MPI004 broadcast mobile phone, which should give near ISDN quality audio.

The BBC Academy’s Steve Jones also volunteered some very useful insights for running audio over IP, including over Skype (basically, this involves careful use of audio compression). We will update our own guidelines for Skype and other VoIP recordings once we have had time to test this out.

And another option for Skype, although not strictly audio, is Matrox’s Convert DVI Plus. With options such as embedding audio from a PC into an SDI signal (a common broadcast format) it is possible to capture footage and sound to a suitable video camera, or another computer with Matrox or BlackMagic hardware. This again adds to the potential of Skype or computer-based video conferencing for news gathering. It would be interesting, for example, to run the Matrox hardware with Apple’s FaceTime and a feed from an iPhone — or maybe the next-gen iPad.

Meanwhile, check back here on Thursday for an update on some of the video technology on show.

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About stephenpritchard
Freelance journalist specialising in business and technology, based in London (UK).

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